Skip to content

Episode 52: How to Study an Endangered Species

What is it like to study an endangered species like chimpanzees, knowing they may go extinct within your lifetime?

Leakey Foundation grantee Dr. Zarin Machanda is a co-director of the Kibale Chimpanzee Project, a long-term field study in Uganda. This study was started by primatologist Richard Wrangham in 1987, and project members have collected daily records of the chimps there ever since.

These notes hold the life stories of around 150 chimpanzees, and this long-term data is a powerful way for scientists to understand chimpanzees–and ourselves.

The Leakey Foundation

Origin Stories is a project of The Leakey Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding human origins research and outreach.

Support Long-Term Field Research

The Leakey Foundation’s Primate Research Fund helps keep long-term primate studies going no matter what. We provide emergency funding to projects facing a gap in their usual funding – or other emergencies that threaten their ability to collect data.

During the pandemic we have had more applications than ever so we need your help. We are trying to raise a total of $25,000 for this fund. Every donation up to that total amount will be quadruple-matched. Any amount helps! Click here to learn more and donate.

Register for Free Lecture April 7, 2021 7:00 pm Eastern

Why are humans the way we are? One way to answer this question is to look to our closest cousins, the chimpanzees. Join Assistant Professor of Psychology and Anthropology Alexandra Rosati of the University of Michigan and Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Biology Zarin Machanda of Tufts University as they examine the world of chimpanzees, including chimpanzee social lives, ecological context, and how they think and solve problems.

Click to register for free!

Lunch Break Science

Lunch Break Science is The Leakey Foundation’s web series featuring short talks and interviews with Leakey Foundation grantees. Episodes stream live on the first and third Thursdays of every month. Sign up for event reminders and watch past episodes at


Kibale Chimpanzee Project Dr. Zarin Machanda First Molar Eruption, Weaning, and Life History in Wild Chimpanzees No Grumpy Old Men in the World of Chimps Social selectivity in aging chimpanzees The Kasisi Project Primates and social media



I [name], of [city, state ZIP], bequeath the sum of $[ ] or [ ] percent of my estate to L.S.B. Leakey Foundation for Research Related to Man’s Origins, Behavior & Survival, (dba The Leakey Foundation), a nonprofit organization with a business address of 1003B O’Reilly Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94129 and a tax identification number 95-2536475 for its unrestricted use and purpose.

If you have questions, please contact Sharal Camisa Smith sharal at 

This will close in 0 seconds